How Often Should You Lift Weights?

Lifting weights help you have a perfect body. Besides, you will enjoy many other health benefits because regular resistance training can decrease blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, and improve cholesterol levels. However, you should know how often to lift weight and ensure that you do not end up hurting yourself in the process.

How Often Should You Lift Weights?

Experts are of the view that you should train each muscle group 2-3 times a week at light intensity when you are just starting out. You can go on to train each muscle group as a set four times a week if you have been doing resistance training for quite a while. There may be some changes in how often you should be lifting weight depending on your weekly schedule and workout duration. Here are some more details.

Weekly Schedule

In case you are an experienced lifter, you can try a split routine to train your muscles thrice a week. It is better to take a rest day after lifting weight because it is essential to provide your muscles with enough time to recover from all the stress. It means that you can exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and take Tuesday and Thursday off or do some moderate cardio exercise. Be sure to take the weekend off.


Experts believe that you should do 2-4 sets of resistance training on each body part but stick to a rep range of 8-12 if you are under the age of 40. You should also use a weight you can easily manage. You should aim for a rep range of 10-15 in case you are older than 40. As you grow older, you need to increase repetitions to help maintain and build muscle. Just be sure to give you more time (at least 48 hours) to recover after resistance training.

Precautions for Safe Lifting

You already know the answer to, "How often should you lift weights?" but it is equally important to ensure that you know how to lift safely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Learn Proper Technique

There are so many exercises to target major muscle groups, but you get good results only when you use a proper lifting technique. It is better to exercise under the supervision of a personal trainer to ensure you do not end up hurting yourself while trying to lift heavy. To avoid injuries, be sure to keep your spine in a neutral position and never bend at the hips to pick up any weight from the floor. Ensure that you only use the muscles you are trying to target through an exercise. And more importantly, do not try to lift heavy too soon – it is better to lift lighter weight until you have mastered the technique.

2. Pay Attention to Breathing

It is important to breathe correctly throughout your workout session, and especially when lifting heavy. This ensures that your muscles continue to get a steady supply of oxygen, lowers your risk of getting injured and prevents fatigue. Generally, you should breathe out when lifting the weight and breathe normally when returning the weight back. Under no circumstances should you be holding your breath while lifting or else you may start feeling lightheaded. Do not continue to lift if you feel nauseous or lightheaded.

3. Take Time to Warm Up and Cool Down

Lifting weight soon after you enter the gym increases your risk of becoming injured. You should spend some time to stretch your body before exercise. Your focus should be on the muscles you are going to use in a workout session. It is also a good idea to do some cardio workout to raise your body temperature a little. Be sure to start with lighter weights and slowly increase the load. Once you have finished your workout, stretch your muscles for some time to cool down properly. This greatly reduces the buildup of lactic acid and accelerates recovery.

4. Be in Control of Things

Keep in mind that you will be playing around some heavy weights so it is important to be in control of things all the time. Handle weight with some care and put it back slowly. Any jerking and swinging movements can cause injuries. Always lift weight in a controlled fashion – it is better to lift to a count of two seconds and lower the weight to a count of three seconds.

5. Avoiding Longer Workout Sessions

Besides "How often should you lift weights?" you should also know how long your session should be. Even if it feels tempting, you should never let your workouts be longer than 60 minutes. Your body produces growth hormone soon after you complete your first heavy set. The release of growth hormone and testosterone peaks when you are 30 minutes in your workout session. After 45 minutes, the levels start coming down and cortisol production starts increasing. Your gains happen when there is a release of testosterone, so you should always keep your workout short.

6. Do Not Overdo the Intensity

Just like keeping your workout short, it is a good idea to avoid exercising extremely hard. It is extremely important especially when you have just started out and your body is still becoming used to all the stress you are putting it through. Avoid smelling salts to keep you in control and do not go to failure during sets. It is better to finish when you still have a couple of reps left in you.

7. Change the Weights

You are going to grow when you change the weights you lift. Sticking to the same weights in every session would not let you grow. Be sure to add some weight to the bar, a little at a time. Increasing the weight you lift over a period of time is better than sticking to the same weight and doing drop sets, supersets, and forced reps. 

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